Social decision-making driven by artistic explore-exploit tension

Kayhan Ozcimder, Biswadip Dey, Alessio Franci, Rebecca Lazier, Daniel Trueman and Naomi Ehrich Leonard,

Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, Vol. 44, No. 1, 2019. DOI: 10.1080/03080188.2018.1544806.

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We studied social decision-making in the rule-based improvisational dance There Might Be Others, where dancers make in-the-moment compositional choices. Rehearsals provided a natural test-bed with communication restricted to non-verbal cues. We observed a key artistic explore-exploit tension in which the dancers switched between exploitation of existing artistic opportunities and riskier exploration of new ones. We investigated how the rules influenced the dynamics using rehearsals together with a model generalized from evolutionary dynamics. We tuned the rules to heighten the tension and modeled nonlinear fitness and feedback dynamics for mutation rate to capture the observed temporal phasing of the dancers' exploration-versus-exploitation. Using bifurcation analysis, we identified key controls of the tension and showed how they could shape the decision-making dynamics of the model much like turning a ``dial'' in the instructions to the dancers could shape the dance. The investigation became an integral part of the development of the dance.

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